Annual Farming For Nature Gathering

28th October 2023
The Town Hall, Gort, Co. Galway  

Location here

Book here

The annual Farming For Nature Gathering  and network day will be held on Saturday of the October Bank Holiday, in the Burren, Co.Clare & Galway as part of the Burren Winterage Weekend each year. We will hold panel discussions and the annual Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards between 10.30am-5pm, followed by entertainment (with very special guests) and we hope you can join us.  This event allows us to come together to celebrate farmers across Ireland who are striving to work alongside nature, and to share ideas on how these great custodians might best be supported at a time of great challenge and opportunity.  All farmers and other interested parties who want to be part of this discussion and know more about farming for nature are welcome to attend.

All farmers and other interested parties who want to be part of this discussion and learn more about farming for nature are welcome to attend.


10.30am– 11am   Registration/ Tea & coffee

Join us for tea/coffee and meet fellow farming for nature farmers/interested parties.

11am– 12pm   Welcome followed by a discussion on Agri policy & economics

FFN Welcome with manager Brigid Barry followed by a discussion on how current and upcoming policy and economics is/might influence and impact at farm level.  Led by Dr James Moran (GMIT) and Dr Lawrence Dooley (UCC)

12pm-1.15pm Panel 1: Building Resilience: adapting to a rapidly changing world

We are undoubtedly in a period of unprecedented change and challenge, particularly for farmers. As a food exporter, Ireland is very exposed to global markets – and the pandemics, wars and supply chain issues that affect them. Farmers are also the focus of rapidly evolving EU policy and national ‘sustainability’ strategies. Climate change is bringing droughts and floods and increased unpredictability. So how can individual farmers build resilience in the face of these ongoing changes?

Farming For Nature Ambassadors & Panellists:

Cathal O Rourke  (Direct selling) Beef farmer, Co. Clare
Kim McCall (Nature based solutions – ponds, woodlands etc)  Beef farmer, Co. Kildare
Gearoid Maher  (Cutting costs) Dairy Farmer, Co. Limerick
Mona Muller (Diversifying income streams) Mixed Stock farmer, Co. Galway

Chaired by farmer and journalist Hannah Quinn Mulligan (5 mins each with Q&A with the audience)

1.15pm-2.15pm Light lunch provided in the hall.

2.15pm-3.30pm Panel 2: Farming & social sustainability: the forgotten pillar?

With the focus on the economic and environmental sustainability of farming, are we in danger of eroding the social sustainability of a sector which is the lifeblood of rural Ireland? Dol efficiency-based solutions to climate, increased incentives for forestry and the growing interest in rewilding pose a risk for farming communities and cultures? Do we undervalue the contribution farmers can make in terms of community health and wellbeing?

Farming For Nature Ambassadors & Panellists:

Tommy Earley (Social farming) Mixed stock farmer, Co. Roscommon
Fergal Smith (Community gardening) Mixed stock farmer, Co. Clare
Colm Gavin ((The importance of the hill farm) Sheep farmer, Co. Mayo
Kate Egan (Feeding the community)  Horticulturalist, Co. Westmeath

Chaired by Dr Brendan Dunford (5 mins each – followed by Q&A with the audience)

All the above is organised with support from DAFM and NPWS

3.30pm-4pm Break 

4pm-5pm The Annual Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards 

Presentation of the 2023 Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards. Facilitated by Ella McSweeney.
Organised with support from the Bord Bia Origin Green Programme

5pm-6pm Free to enjoy local eateries etc

6pm-7.30pm Cultural event – ‘A Winterage Session’  – an evening of poetry, music, images and storytelling on the theme of farming traditions with poet Jane Clarke, authors Dan Saladino and Max Jones, and traditional musician Jack Talty.

8pm (Gathering in the Lady Gregory for meet/greet/rugby watching)

€15 for the event (this nominal change is to help us prevent no-shows and to contribute to the unfunded cost of Farming For Nature in hosting this event.)
Capacity in Gort Town Hall: 100 people

Book here

Burren Cattle Drive

Sunday 29th October (10am-3pm)

The Annual Community Cattle Drive and Food Fayre (BellHarbour).  Booking required to receive directions (approximately 30mins from Gort).  The food fayre will be held from 10am with food tastings and demonstrations.  The drive will start at 12pm.   It is a two hour walk on uneven ground so wear the right gear!  Don’t forget the hour change!

To book this and more details of other events happening at the Burren Winterage Weekend including walks and other events across the Burren go to   

Booking on this Farming For Nature network day does not necessary give entry to other events over the weekend. Please see the booking details of these events on the above site.

View a quick overview of the 2021 Burren Winterage School and Cattle Drive here:

Burren Winterage School 2021

Below are the recordings from the different panel discussions held on the Farming For Nature Workshop day in Kinvara on the 23rd October 2021.  All the panel speakers are Farming For Nature Ambassadors.

This 1st session was with farmers Gerard Walshe, Bridget Murphy and Michael Hickey talking about ‘High Nature Value farmer in Practice.’ Facilitators were Drs Brendan Dunford and James Moran.


This 2nd session was with farmers Padraig Corcoran, Jane Shackleton, and Tommy Earley talking about ‘Paying for Ecosystem Services.’ Facilitators were Drs Brendan Dunford and James Moran.

This 3rd session was Thomas Stack, John McHugh, Mimi Crawford and Gearoid Maher talking about ‘Diversification in Dairy.’ Facilitator was Hannah Quinn Mulligan.

This 4th session was with farmers Thomas O’Connor, Andrew Bergin and Thomas Fouhy talking about ‘Producing low input nutrient dense food’ Facilitator was Sean McGloin.

If you missed the Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards 2021, you can now watch it here:

What others think about the Farming For Nature Workshop day

It is great to be able to meet all these people who think the same way as we do. Very often, as a farmer, you work in isolation, especially if you do something a bit different from the “norm”. It gives a great boost to know there are a lot more farmers who do the same thing in their own corner and to feel supported in your ideas.
(McCall Family, Farming For Nature Ambassador 2018)


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